Raising a creative child has little to do with nature and a lot to do with nurture. Creativity isn’t “born”. We all have the capacity for creativity, and if we encourage our creativity, it will grow. Here are some simple steps you can take right now to nurture your child’s creative spirit.
Set boundaries and limitations
Play thinking games with your child
Encourage him to think, to dream, to explore ideas. “What would happen if,” is a good start. What do you think would happen if we took a bath before we went out to play, instead of at night before bed?” “What would happen if we put red ice cubes and blue ice cubes in a glass to melt?” Other favorite thinking games include, “I spy with my little eye….something ______________.” You fill in the blank. Perhaps you say “something red.” Then your child starts naming red things he sees in that room. “Is it the coffee pot? The curtains? The magazine?” If he doesn’t guess in a few turns, you add another clue. “Something red and square.” The game continues until he guesses the item. Then it is his turn to make you guess. For more ideas on thinking games or activities, visit the lessons page.
READ! A Lot!
Don’t watch T.V.
Ever. It is a proven fact that TV turns your brain to mush and worms begin to feed on it. 🙂
Take your child outside often
Go for walks. Go to the park, the zoo, the baseball diamond, a parade, the fire station, the coffee shop. Walk, don’t take the car. If you live too far away, drive to town, but park in a parking lot away from your destination and walk around town. Bring a wagon or stroller if your child is younger. We need to be outside. Our bodies synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. We need at least 1 hour outside every day, or we become vitamin D deficient, which is linked to many diseases and health concerns including high blood pressure, several cancers, osteoporosis, seasonal adjustment disorder, rickets, and diabetes. But since this post is more on creativity than health, going out for a walk is a great way to stimulate the brain.
Listen to music
Not just the radio. Leaving a radio on all the time does more harm than good. Children learn to ignore, or tune out, instead of learning how to listen. Make music special. Play it at special times, then turn it off. Play a variety of music. Play folk music, blues, jazz, contemporary, even Disney musicals. Encourage your child to dance to music, to move, even to color a picture of the way the music makes him feel. Taking music lessons may also be a good idea, with the right teacher.
No Coloring Books
Give him large sheets of blank paper when he colors, not coloring books. Encourage him to make his own pictures. Coloring in coloring books is a way of passing time, but not of creating art. Provide for a variety of art experiences. Maybe he will color on Mondays, paint on Tuesdays, sculpt with clay on Wednesdays, cut and paste collages on Thursdays, and choose his favorite on Fridays.
No Battery-operated toys
Provide open-ended toys, remove all battery or electric powered toys. Have your child play with blocks, not electric trains. Have him play with puzzles, not video games. Let him build a fort out of your kitchen table, with some sheets and blankets and clothespins, instead of buying a fort from a box.
Teach him new vocabulary words
As a toddler, he is learning new words all the time. Help him to name everything he sees. “This is a tree, but that is a bush. See how much smaller it is? What’s that one over there, a tree or a bush?” Preschoolers know a lot of words already. Now it is time to begin the word-a-day that you will do for the rest of the time he lives under your roof. Chose a new word, print it on a card, and post it either near the calendar or kitchen table. Use the word ten times that day, and ten times tomorrow. You can stop reviewing that word when you hear your child using it correctly. Children with large vocabularies out-perform their peers on standardized tests. Children with large vocabularies can express themselves more clearly. No, they are not feeling angry. They might be frustrated or overwhelmed or chagrined, but children with small vocabularies will still just be angry.
Love him unconditionally
Top:http://www.flickr.com/photos/kazmizandlils/ / CC BY 2.0
books:http://www.flickr.com/photos/kazmizandlils/ / CC BY 2.0
Painting:http://www.flickr.com/photos/edgygrrrl/ / CC BY 2.0
Bottom:http://www.flickr.com/photos/edenpictures/ / CC BY 2.0
Tags: Creative Children, creativity in children, Early Childhood Activities, encouraging creativity, raising creative children, reading to children, television habit and children, thinking games, vitamin D deficiencies